Philippines fades after strong start, loses to Chinese Taipei in Asian Under-23 volleyball
Alyssa Valdez hits a spike past two Chinese Taipei blockers. Dante Peralta

THE Philippines failed to sustain a fast start and dropped a 21-25, 25-18, 25-12, 25-19 loss to Chinese Taipei on Tuesday night in the 2015 Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Philsports Arena.

The Pinay spikers faded the final three sets of the match to settle for last place in Pool E at the end of the second round and a showdown with powerhouse China, the top-ranked team in Pool F, in the crossover quarterfinals.

The Philippines, which beat Kazakhstan in the prelims, ended up without a win in the second round and will now play a Chinese squad that has yet to lose a match in the tournament.

The Filipinas were all pumped up after winning the first set but the Taiwanese regained their bearings in the second. Chinese Taipei proceeded to run away with the third after a 9-0 run midway through the set.

The Philippines showed signs of life after taking a 9-5 lead in the fourth set but from a 17-17 tie, Chinese Taipei put the match away with an 8-2 finish.

Alyssa Valdez finished with 16 points despite the Chinese Taipei coach, Lin Ming-hui, admitting that they made an effort to focus their defense on the Philippines' top scoring threat.

“No. 2 (Valdez) is a very good player,” said Lin. “We had some blocks to stop her attack."

Jaja Santiago added eight points for the Philippines, but the squad was undone by the 35 errors it committed in the match.

“I think we really tried our best today,” Valdez said. “Siguro kanina, breaks of the game didn’t go our way. Siyempre, marami pa tayong pagkukulang sa team. The experience talaga ng Chinese Taipei really helped them pull off the game.”

National head coach Roger Gorayeb, however, rued the officiating of the match.

“There were crucial calls against us,” Gorayeb said.

Lee Tzu-ying had 15 points while Chen Tzu-ya and Tseng Wan-ling had 13 and 11 points, respectively, for Chinese Taipei, which will play Korea in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Following a rest day on Wednesday, Japan, the first placer in Pool E, will face India, while Pool F second-seed Thailand takes on Iran in other quarterfinal pairings.

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